February 16, 2017 Surface Flows

What’s new at the 61G lava flow of Kilauea? Well… we still have an active lava lake inside the Pu’u ‘O’o vent. The vent is a clearing house for lava traveling six miles downslope and entering the ocean with a great volume of lava in a single firehose lava stream at Kamokuna, just inside the Hawaii Volcanoes Nationals spark boundary. All of this has been going on for quite some time… but the new developments over the past week are a veritable plethora of new surface flows both on the coastal plain, as well as a short distance above the top of the Pali. These breakouts are by far the most surface lava we’ve seen since the first couple months of the 61G flow… and they were spectacular! The firehose lava at the ocean entry was largely obscured when we visited today, but littoral explosions continue to rock the coastline, which remains cracked and dangerously unstable. Several recent collapses have lopped off sizable portions of the bench and sea cliff at the entry area. The long-lived firehose lava stream shoots tons of hot molten lava into the cold sea water, causing littoral explosions. the cold sea water in turn freezes the lava and the concussions shatter it into fragments. Some of these sink to the depths of the sea, while others gain the purchase of the coastal rocks and form black sand beaches. The ocean entry remains a magnificent sight for visitors who can gain access from either the Kalpana of HVNP side by walking out the temporary access road, which goes directly to the ocean entry! The walk is lengthy, however, and precautions should be observed. Mahalo to Paradise Helicopter pilot Colin Burkardt (the smiley face pilot), who guided us safely over the 2-thousand degree hot liquid rock of the Volcano Goddess Pele… it’s always great to fly with you, Colin! Bruce Omori, special guest Dean Hagedorn, Leilani, Aloha Ducky and I had yet another outstanding charter for our lava overflight update. Another great flight in Paradise! 

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